You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Former Tallahassee ethics officer Julie Meadows-Keefe charged with stalking

Tallahassee Democrat logoTallahassee Democrat 1/12/2021 Karl Etters, Tallahassee Democrat
a close up of a woman: Julie Meadows-Keefe, the former Tallahassee ethics officer, was charged with cyber stalking on Monday © Leon County Detention Facility Julie Meadows-Keefe, the former Tallahassee ethics officer, was charged with cyber stalking on Monday

The city of Tallahassee's first independent ethics officer was arrested Monday on charges of stalking the former city auditor.

Julie Meadows-Keefe, who just weeks ago settled a retaliation lawsuit against the city, is accused of cyberstalking Bert Fletcher, with whom she had a romantic relationship during their time at the city and afterward.

The 51-year-old was charged Monday by the State Attorney’s Office on the first-degree misdemeanor. In a court appearance Tuesday before Leon County Judge Augustus D. Aikens Jr., Meadows-Keefe was released on pretrial conditions that barred her from having contact with Fletcher or any of his family members and from using electronic devices with internet access except to conduct attorney business, banking, paying bills and for work. 

The arrest marks the latest chapter in a saga involving Meadows-Keefe, who was once responsible for training city elected officials and employees on ethics, and whose personal drama became a focus at Ethics Board meetings. 

Court records paint a picture of an on and off romantic relationship between the two that turned sour and included stalking allegations from both Meadows-Keefe and Fletcher.

The Monday arrest comes after she threatened physical violence and sent hundreds of texts, phone calls and emails during the final week of December and into the new year, according to police.

Fletcher and Meadows-Keefe’s offices were adjacent in City Hall and they began a romantic relationship while both were still married.

Fletcher, along with then-City Attorney Lew Shelley, hired Meadows-Keefe in 2014 as the city’s ethics officer. The move came just before voters overwhelmingly supported a referendum creating an independent ethics board and ethics code.

The Independent Ethics Board later hired Meadows-Keefe as its independent ethics officer, a move some ethics advocates never accepted in part because she’d been hired by top city officials.

Fletcher and his wife divorced in 2017, the same year he retired from the city. He and Meadows-Keefe continued their relationship, meeting in clandestine hotel rooms until Fletcher said she “falsely filed a sexual complaint” against him, according to court records. It was later dismissed by a judge and the records sealed.

More: Retired city auditor focus of two restraining orders that were later dropped

In 2018, he began working for the state Auditor General's Office downtown at the Claude Pepper Building.  

By early 2019, Meadows-Keefe’s relationship with a then-unnamed top appointed city official came to light. The Independent Ethics Board, which publicly grappled with the situation for months, began nudging her out the door. She announced in July 2019 that she would resign in early 2020. She began working at the Law Firm of Marie Mattox, the same firm that handled her retaliation complaint against Mayor John Dailey and the city.

More: Tallahassee ethics officer sues city, alleges Mayor Dailey retaliated against her

Fletcher said starting in 2019 he began receiving phone calls from an “unknown” number he believed was Meadows-Keefe so he refused to answer them. He changed his phone number in late 2019.

Throughout 2020, despite changing his number, Fletcher again began to receive the phone calls.

In late September, he answered one and the two rekindled their romantic relationship but in December he decided to end it and texted Meadows-Keefe, according to court records. She and her husband divorced in October.

“Following the text, Mr. Fletcher was bombarded with phone calls and texts from Ms. Keefe,” investigators wrote in court records.

They met at Tom Brown Park and exchanged Christmas gifts before Fletcher again said they needed to break off the relationship and she needed to stop contacting him.

Meadows-Keefe became angry and mentioned that she and another man “talked about hiring someone from the mafia to hide in the Pepper Building with a baseball bat and beat your brains out,” according to court records.

Police say as Fletcher left, Meadows-Keefe followed him and she later continued to bombard him with phone calls and texts.

A State Attorney’s Office investigator contacted Meadows-Keefe who confirmed she had been calling Fletcher but denied that he’d asked her to stop.

When she was warned she could be charged, she told the investigator, “There’s two sides to this story. He’s been emotional. I was wanting to make sure he was OK.”

Fletcher began to received random calls and texts into January and eventually answered one to find it was Meadows-Keefe. He asked her to stop contacting him.

Investigators determined the harassment would not stop: “It was more than clear Ms. Keefe’s pattern of conduct to harass Mr. Fletcher by electronic communication was not going to stop.”

The Democrat has contacted Meadows-Keefe for comment.

Tallahassee Democrat Senior reporter Jeff Burlew contributed to this story.

Contact Karl Etters at ketters@tallahassee.com or @KarlEtters on Twitter. 

This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Former Tallahassee ethics officer Julie Meadows-Keefe charged with stalking

AdChoices
AdChoices

More From Tallahassee Democrat

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon